Although one of West Coast rap's leading rappers, Earnest J. Willingsworth III, Esq. was born in Newcastle-Upon-Tine, England. When his parents died in a tragic fox-hunting accident when he was nine, he went to live with his relatives in San Ramon, California. There he attended several private schools, finally graduating Magna Cum Laude from Sonoma Valley Academy.
After graduating college with a degree in Cullinary Arts, Cuppa Tea began rapping for John Holmes' label, 12". While this kept him employed, the pay was minimal, and he found only a limited audience for his music.
Realizing that his name might be turning off the more hardcore fans, Cuppa Tea's agent convinced him to change his name to Cuppa Joe. This effort to become more mainstream paid off, and soon Joe's raps were contracted out to Starbucks and other coffee chains. After moderate success, he shortened his name to Joe, in an attempt to pull in the mechanic-types who never went to Starbucks.
While this initially worked out well, Joe's fame was short-lived. Peesa Cake,
Earnest Cuppa Joe's rival, followed suit by changing his name to Peesa Pie and later Pizza Pie (this is most likely due to the fact his name was misspelled by some illiterate fans and told to Peesa, an illiterate man himself). Jefferson Airplane also followed with this namechanging technique by evolving into Jefferson Starship and then just Starship.
The End of an Era
With such stiff competition, Joe's music was quickly forgotten, and he died penniless on a small island in the South Pacific he had purchased with the last of his money.
As was said early in Joe's career, "His rhymes are hot and unforgettable. He's got the bad boy image down pat, and he knows whats good and what sells, but he's original, hip and street-wise." Nowhere was this more evident than in Joe's single Yo Gotta Bitch in da Benz wit Some Cocaine and Pot and My Homies and Our 9mms and Shit, Jolly good.
- Yo Mamma's Pajamas oooouyea
- Drink Me (Like A Cuppa Tea)
- Gangsta's Lament
- I'm So Rich, There's Platinum Coming Out Of My Ass
- Yo Gotta Bitch in da Benz wit Some Cocaine and Pot and My Homies and Our 9mms and Shit
- T as in Tea
- Mucho Coochie
Yo gotta bitch in the benz wit some cocaine and pot and my homies and our 9mms and shit. Jolly Good Dis is our hood and we celebrate everyday with a bottle of beer Jolly Good Da bitch's name is Gwenivere" Jolly Good -Yo Gotta Bitch in da Benz...(etc.)